I love feeling that I am at the centre of things. Not in an egotistical way, I want to quickly add – but in the sense that I am in a place where things are happening and new ideas are being born all the time.
It’s just one of the many reasons that I love being based here in the canton of Zug, in Switzerland. As well as being where my OMNIA business operates from, it’s also the home to a growing number of innovative new enterprises dealing in the very latest blockchain and cryptographic technology. For me, this makes it a hugely exciting business community to be a part of.
Pioneers at the cutting edge of finance
Of course, Switzerland has a long history of being at the centre of the financial industry – but the new cluster of entrepreneurs and tech pioneers who are now building their businesses around Zug is increasing all the time. Zug is now recognised globally as being somewhere where technological innovation is being encouraged – so much so that the new boom in cryptocurrency companies in the area has formed a community known as ‘Crypto Valley’.
I think that what is most fascinating about this latest stage in the development of Switzerland’s financial community is the approach that the regulatory authorities have taken towards the new blockchain companies such as Ethereum, Monetas, Bitcoin Suisse, Xapo, ShapeShift, ConsenSys, and Tezos. Switzerland has always been known for taking an open approach to the regulation of the financial operators within its borders, and it has continued this philosophy with the way it deals with the new crypto currency pioneers.
Of course, this isn’t to say that they’re allowing anyone to get away with anything they shouldn’t be doing, and I’ve been really glad to see that they have clamped down on the very few businesses that were, for example, providing fake cryptocurrencies. But overall, they’ve taken a light-touch regulatory approach to digital currencies, and I think that’s the way forward.
A refreshingly open approach to regulation
Why? Because it’s been a great driver for innovation. I’m really excited about the possibilities of crypto currency and blockchain technology, but it needs a supportive atmosphere in which to develop. The attitude of the Swiss financial authorities is welcome, and refreshing, especially when you contrast it to the regulatory clamp downs we’ve already seen in the US and in China.
Thanks to the approach taken by the authorities, Switzerland – and Zug’s Crypto Valley in particular – has grown to be a global centre for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) too. In a similar way that Initial Public? Offerings allow people the chance to get in early and grab a slice of the next big business success, so ICOs offer the opportunity for people to buy into new crypto currency ventures. Despite the boom in ICOs, they’re not without controversy, and the Chinese authorities have gone as far as banning them completely.
Fresh opportunities for all
This has opened up a new opportunity for Switzerland, and our growing community in Crypto Valley in particular, to carve out a niche in an area of finance whose future is still not completely clear. However. this is something that has always excited me, and is another reason why I love being at the heart of this new revolution in the world of finance.
Stepping into the unknown, but bringing the creativity of hugely talented people together with cutting technology to create new solutions is what I’ve always done best – and this feels like the perfect time and place to try and do it again.
Featured image from Crypto Head